LATEST OPINION PIECES
Over the past five years, social protection has expanded dramatically around the world. In 2020, one in six people globally received government transfers. This expansion in coverage, particularly in upper- and middle-income countries, has produced a new set of beneficiaries: vulnerable, non-poor households. Scaling up the coverage of social protection programs has the potential to […]
The post Can Cash Transfers to Non-Poor Households Prevent Poverty? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The case for immediate climate action could not be more stark. Global temperatures have already risen by 1.1°C and over 3 billion people are highly vulnerable to the effects of a warming planet, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We need to immediately adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. We […]
The post Achieving Climate Change Goals Means Redirecting 7 to 19% of GDP Worth of Spending Decisions appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Perched 7,300 feet above sea level in a valley wrapped round by mountains and volcanoes, Mexico City has long suffered from thick layers of smog produced by cars, factories, and wildfires. Among the worst hazards of that air pollution for its 21 million inhabitants is PM 2.5, inhalable fine particulate matter. People exposed to PM […]
The post The Unequal Effects of Air Pollution on Health and Income in Mexico City appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Education has long been considered a bulwark in hard times. Now new research shows that acquiring additional years of schooling can help prevent people from losing their jobs during economic downturns or recessions. But what makes acquiring education protective? Does it increase productivity? Does it enable workers to work in recession-proof sectors? Or does the […]
The post How Education Protects Workers During Recessions appeared first on Ideas Matter.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has killed almost five million, more people die every year because of air pollution, which accounts for about one in five deaths worldwide. The problem, moreover, is especially acute in low- and middle-income countries, where exposure to high levels of air pollution affects 90 percent of the population. Given the substantial […]
The post Trust: A Critical Component of the Fight Against Air Pollution appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The World Health Organization calls air pollution the number one environmental threat to health in the Americas. More than 60,000 people in Latin America died prematurely from exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone in 2010. And with an increasing number of vehicles on the region’s roads, lax or non-existent emissions standards, and more frequent […]
The post Do Air Pollution Alerts Work to Change Behavior and Reduce Exposure? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world faced the challenge of providing effective financial support to help citizens weather the fallout from the accompanying economic crisis. That crisis unfolded at unprecedented speed, leaving many households vulnerable to sliding into poverty before governments could design and implement new social programs. One potential […]
The post How an Existing Non-Contributory Pension Program Proved Critical During the COVID-19 Pandemic appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Over the coming decades, climate change and natural disasters have the potential to undo much of the progress made in lifting households out of poverty over prior decades. By one estimate, climate change could push 100 million people across the globe into poverty within the next 10 years. By the end of the century, the ratio of GDP per capita between […]
The post How Climate Change Worsens Poverty and Inequality appeared first on Ideas Matter.
For a long time, investors eager to use their money to improve the world through socially and environmentally conscious investments worried that they would be sacrificing returns in the process. No longer. Investing that takes into account environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors often equals or even outperforms investments that ignore these factors. Today […]
The post Investing to Create Better Societies Without Sacrificing Returns appeared first on Ideas Matter.
A silver lining that has emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic is that CO2 emissions have decreased dramatically during the lockdowns. But that this is not necessarily good news for climate change. Emission levels are likely to return to previous levels once the lockdowns are lifted because there have not been any structural changes in climate-related […]
The post Climate Change is a Threat to Economic Growth and to Reducing Income Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean appeared first on Ideas Matter.
To get a better grasp of how the coronavirus pandemic is upending lives and livelihoods, we teamed up with Cornell University to carry out an online survey to measure the economic impacts of the pandemic on households in seventeen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. We found that the impacts were staggering, are closely […]
The post Coronavirus Survey Results Show Big Impacts, Linkages between Labor Markets and Inequality appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The coronavirus pandemic is having unprecedented effects on the daily lives of citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean with especially dire impacts on lower income households that range from job and income losses to a lack of information on the disease itself. The situation is changing rapidly and requires prompt policy responses. Those are […]
The post Novel Dataset Reveals the Deepening Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Inequality appeared first on Ideas Matter.
A new coronavirus is sweeping the globe, and, as one of its by-products, deadly air pollution in many places is lifting. Consider the case of Chile. On March 3, Chile announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19. On March 18, it declared a state of catastrophe, and by March 25, the number of confirmed cases […]
The post Coronavirus Restrictions Lead to Improvement in Air Quality appeared first on Ideas Matter.
When the bitter chill of winter descends on the cities of south-central Chile, residents load up their wood-burning stoves with firewood, turn the dampers, or levers, on their stoves down to keep the wood burning longer and settle in to enjoy the crackle and warmth of log-heated homes. Energy produced by wood-fuel burning is around […]
The post How A Simple Sign Helped Cut Household Emissions by 17% appeared first on Ideas Matter.
When people think of climate change’s effects on the Caribbean, they tend to think of rising seas and extreme weather, like Irma and Maria – the Category 5 hurricanes that ripped through the region in September 2017, killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars in damage. Those calamities are a key reason that the Caribbean […]
The post Surging Temperatures and the Threat to Caribbean Growth appeared first on Ideas Matter.
When a whale washed up on the shores of the Philippines in March with 88 pounds of plastic inside its stomach, people recoiled with horror. Plastic litter on the beaches and in the oceans is unseemly enough. But the idea of innocent animals dying with shopping bags, rice sacks and other plastic litter inside them seemed […]
The post Stemming the Tide of Plastic Pollution appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Latin Americans enthusiastically backed Pope Francis when in June 2015 he published Laudato Si, his encyclical warning that global warming was “one of the principal challenges facing humanity.” Governments in the region at the time were preparing to play a leading role in the United Nations climate summit later that year in Paris. Ordinary citizens […]
The post Can Latin American Citizens Change Climate Policy? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Areas of Latin America, like Mexico and Chile, have some of the world’s greatest solar potential. But a new technological development in solar cells could allow them to harness more of the sun’s energy and speed the growth of solar in the region. The new solar cells are known as perovskites. They are made of […]
The post Pushing the Frontier of Solar Cells appeared first on Ideas Matter.
When researchers consider the economic costs of climate change, they often estimate models based on historical temperature and economic data. But it can be difficult to account for adaptation. Typically, these models estimate an upper bound of the economic costs of climate change. Future adaptation, it is assumed, will reduce those costs. But adaptation could […]
The post Can Small Farmers Adapt to Climate Change Shocks? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The word out of Bonn, where the latest United Nations Climate summit came to an end Nov. 18, is hardly encouraging. Assuming that countries honor their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions made to date, the globe’s temperature will still rise at least 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, 1 degree Celsius above […]
The post Stepping Up the Struggle Against Climate Change appeared first on Ideas Matter.
Mexico was the world’s first developing nation to commit. The rest of Latin America and the Caribbean followed. Taking stock of climate change’s effects on sea rise, extreme weather, crop failures and disease, the region united at the 2015 United Nations climate summit in Paris to pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lay out […]
The post Modeling Tradeoffs in the Fight Against Climate Change appeared first on Ideas Matter.
For a region that is very vulnerable to climate change, Latin America remains highly dependent on fossil fuels. Around 40% of the region’s energy generation still comes from oil, natural gas, and coal. Moreover, supporting fossil fuels is costly to governments. According to a paper by the International Monetary Fund, the average country in the region […]
The post Fighting the Fossil Fuel Addiction appeared first on Ideas Matter.
What’s the big fuss over 2 degrees Celsius? That’s the temperature increase to which 195 countries agreed to limit global warming at the 2015 Paris climate talks. And it would seem to be trivial. A 2-degrees-Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase from 4.4 to 6.4 Celsius (40-43.6 Fahrenheit), after all, doesn’t have us shedding our Shetland […]
The post Global Warming: Why a Couple Degrees Makes All the Difference appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The epic droughts that have devastated Latin America over the last five years, drying up river beds and crippling electricity generation, stand as a clear warning. Latin America and the Caribbean may be one of the world’s most important regions for hydroelectric power, with nearly half of generation capacity currently supplied by dams. But ever […]
The post When Solar Power Cuts Costs and Emissions appeared first on Ideas Matter.
In recent years, developing countries have struggled to make social welfare programs for the poor and vulnerable more efficient. The distribution of preventative health products is an important example. Such products can help the poor stave off malnutrition and disease and improve overall productivity. But they have traditionally been distributed using subsidized pricing, and while […]
The post Can New Methods Sharpen Targeting in Programs for the Poor? appeared first on Ideas Matter.
The shriveled crops and bleached bones of livestock across large areas of South America following recent droughts may be just the beginning. By mid-century climate change is likely to boost temperatures by 2 degrees centigrade or more. Droughts and downpours are likely to become more intense and frequent; floods and storms, more destructive. As discussed […]
The post Climate Change and its Indoor Impacts appeared first on Ideas Matter.